Local MSP John Finnie, Scottish Greens Justice spokesperson, has today (5 September 2017) welcomed the support of the Scottish Government for his proposed Member’s Bill to provide children with equal protection from assault.
The support, outlined in today’s programme for government, comes as a welcome boost to the campaign to make Scotland one of the greatest places in the world for children to grow up.
Mr Finnie held a public consultation on the proposal earlier this year, with an overwhelming response in favour of the proposal from both Individuals and organisations. Professional bodies, children’s and health and social care organisations who have campaigned for this change in the law include Children 1st, NSPCC Scotland, Barnardo’s Scotland, the Royal College of Paediatricians and the Scottish Police Federation.
John Finnie said:
“I welcome the support offered today by the Scottish Government for my equal protection proposal. It is simply unacceptable that we offer the most vulnerable in our society the least protection. The ‘justifiable assault’ defence is from a different age and it is vital that we move forward and afford our children the protection they deserve – the protection all adults enjoy – and send a message to the whole of society that we don’t tolerate violence in any setting.
“I have been studying the responses to my consultation, with the support of the Scottish Parliament’s Non-Government Bills Unit, over the past few weeks and expect to be in the position to outline my final proposal in the near future.”
Mary Glasgow, Acting Chief Executive, Children 1st, Scotland’s National Children’s Charity said:
“It’s fantastic to see the Scottish Government recognise that all children need the same protection from violence that we enjoy as adults.
“Children 1st have campaigned on this issue for many years as we believe it can make a real difference to the lives of the children and families that we work alongside. The current law is out of step with what we now know about child development and the harm physical punishment can do to children, families and society. We look forward to continuing our work with John Finnie MSP, the Scottish Government and Parliament and the many other organisations and individuals who have joined us in supporting this change, to ensure legal reform is urgently progressed.”